A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of speaking at a holiday event. Instead of one of my usual (but awesome) presentations, I wrote some thoughts on a piece of paper and shared what I thought these businesses needed to know to align themselves for 2015. Here’s what I shared. I hope these rules (guidelines) help you.
1. Word of mouth alone won’t work — relying on word of mouth for all of your marketing is “ok”. However, if you want to boost revenue, increase profits and take your business to new heights, you MUST create a purpose built marketing plan. Word of mouth alone won’t cut it.
2. Sales as usual is not enough. You need to educate with content marketing. — While traditional sales will always be important, you must also learn how to SELL through education. This means that instead of FIRST asking for money, FIRST take the time to understand the customer’s needs and educate them on the value your product or service has for them. Online content is a GREAT way to show value and educate your customers.
3. Barrier between small businesses who do use technology and those who do not. — While many business owners are leveraging the power of technology, there are still many business owners who are falling behind. These business owners are afraid of technology, don’t appreciate it’s benefit to them, fear it’s too expensive or some other reason. Which side of the technology barrier will you fall on? The tech laggard or those who use technology as a strategic asset?
4. Every business is ripe for displacement — this is the Uber economy. See what Uber has done to the taxi industry. See what Hulu, Netflix (the Internet) and RedBox have done to Blockbuster? Well it’s how OLD SCHOOL technologies have been disrupted and displaced by NEW technology and NEW ways of doing things.
5. Customers expect convenience, speed and efficiency. — Your customers are used to using apps to check in to airlines, having the Starbucks barista ask for their name, etc. If your business is not able to adore your customers and shower them with love and speed of business you’ll lose.
6. Personal brand solidification is a must (The Local Celebrity Entrepreneur) — Sure Nike has spent billions so we all know “just do it”, but you don’t have billions. You probably don’t even have a few thousand a month to spend on marketing. However, you MUST invest the time (and maybe some dollars) to build your personal brand. Be The Local Celebrity Entrepreneur in your market.
7. The phone is the tool of choice for everything (mobile web site and apps). Take your phone out — look at it. That tiny computer is POWERFUL. Ensure your web site is easily viewable on it’s tiny screen and enable your customers to interact with your business on their phones. Can they check orders on their phones? Can they use your app to engage deeper with your company?
8. Hyper local targeting — not targeting everyone. Instead of trying to go BIG it’s best to go even more narrow. Master marketer Casey Graham speaks about this with me here and Seth Godin most recently wrote about it here. Local does not just mean geography but it also refers to specialization.
9. Social media is not everything, but it’s important. F.R.E.A — Frequent, Relevant, Engaged, Analytics. You can read more about my thoughts about social media marketing here.
10. Your marketing must change — Attract. Sell. Wow. The principles of Infusionsoft’s Lifecycle Marketing — are VITIAL in how your marketing mindset needs to change. Check out my presentation on it here.
11. Design, how you look, is important. Logos, clothes, branding, business cards, etc. — Listen, how you LOOK, how you SPEAK, how you SMELL is important. Not just your personal appearance of course but also your overall branding — business cards, logos, web site and more. Upgrade yourself and OVERALL LOOK better!
12. Deeper connection to customers. (Wow) — Finally, beyond making it easier to work with you, you must always work HARDER to ensure you know your customers. What are their needs, their challenges and the problems YOU can solve for them?